Packing your hospital bag is an important and exciting job before your baby arrives! A well-organized hospital bag ensures you have all the essentials for yourself, your newborn, and your partner. Being prepared ahead of time will allow you to feel less stressed out in the weeks leading up to the baby’s arrival, and once in the hospital, it will make your stay much more comfortable (and when in the hospital, we need all the comfort we can get!). Many new parents turn to the internet to ask what to pack in their hospital bag for their 2024 birth.
Firstly, make sure you pack your hospital bag ahead of time. It often seems daunting, so we put it off, but believe me… you do not want to get caught off-guard and end up at the hospital without a bag! The hilarious (in hindsight) items your partner will pull together in a panicked whirlwind will not help the stressful situation!
So, pack and be ready to go at 36 weeks!
Install your car seat at the same time as packing your hospital bag!
A task that should go alongside the hospital bag is the car seat! You really shouldn’t have one ready without the other. This is a task that you’ll want to take your time and care with (i.e., read the instructions carefully!), so again, you don’t want to leave this up to your partner to do in a tired fog!
What kind of hospital bag is best?
Firstly, something that is easy to carry! Many new parents are opting for a carry-on-sized wheelie suitcase for mom and baby. The double zip-up sides mean you can fully open it and easily see inside (rather than rooting around a deep bag).
While over the shoulder might seem easiest, it can slide forward when you’re bending over (and bop your baby in the head as you pick them or car seat up, whoops).
Your partner should be responsible for packing their own bag. There is also a likelihood that you may get separated (for example, if mom needs to remain in a hospital bed, and dad and baby head to the NICU). Your partner will want their own items with them, so sharing a bag won’t work.
How to label your items and bag:
Make sure that your bag is well labeled, as well as your items inside. Especially if you don’t have a private room, it’s too easy for things to go missing or get into the wrong hands (especially all that new cute stuff you’ve just purchased for baby!)
We suggest these adorable labels and bag tags! Once done with your hospital bag, these are perfect for your diaper bag!
What to pack in your hospital bag for a 2024 birth:
This includes your photo ID, health/ medical card/ insurance card, and plan details.
- Your Birth Plan
Depending on whether you have a midwife or an ob-gyn, you’ll want a copy of your birth plan so that everyone understands your ideal birth and your priorities.
- An Open Mind
Okay, you’re only packing this metaphorically. But if you’re packing a birth plan, you also need to pack an open mind. Things change, urgencies change, and you sometimes need to be flexible. Remember, your baby doesn’t know the plan and may have their own ideas, and you may need to adjust accordingly for the health and safety of you and your baby. So, pack that open mind!
- Comfy clothes:
-A comfortable nightgown
-Slippers (don’t make these your favorite pair…things after birth can get drippy, and with gravity… you get the idea. Don’t pack your favorite pair because you don’t want them to get ruined.)
-Sweatpants or pajama pants (be VERY aware of the waistband!) If you need to have a c-section, you’ll want to choose pants that can sit comfortably up high on your waist and not too tight.
-Big underwear- like, real big again so that the waistband isn’t too tight, and they can sit nice and high around your belly.
-Socks, the hospital can be cold (see the note about slippers… don’t bring your best pair)
- Personal Items:
-glasses/ contact lens/ lens solution etc.
-lip balm (hospitals can be very dry)
-hair brush and lots of hair ties (you’ll want your hair out of your face during labor)
-soap, skincare, moisturizer
-Maternity pads (even if you’re having a c-section!)
- Nursing gear if you plan to breastfeed:
If you plan on breastfeeding, you may want to bring the below items.
-feeding support pillow
- If you plan to formula feed, this article is quite informative. Every hospital is different and will have different supplies on hand for you, so it’s best to contact your midwife or hospital and clarify what you may be required to bring.
-Ear plugs (hospitals can be loud, and getting sleep will be important!)
-prescription medicine you may take
-Music and headphones
-Preloaded/downloaded movies or books on your device.
-Your own pillow or blanket, or other items that may provide you some comfort
-Granola/ energy bars/nuts & seeds etc.
What to pack in your hospital bag for baby:
- Baby Clothing
-A unique and cozy “going home” outfit
- Receiving Blankets
-2 or 3.
-Your hospital may not allow you to take home your traditional blue and pink striped receiving blanket (I sure hope it doesn’t accidentally fall into your bag)
- Diapers and Wipes
You may want to check and see what your hospital provides. If you stay in the NICU, your diapers are often provided; otherwise, you may have to provide your own.
*Pro tip- get samples of different brands of diapers, wipes, and creams before the baby arrives (baby shows, welcome wagons, etc., will often provide samples, or you can reach out to the company). This way, you can try a few different types and see which works best for your baby before you commit to purchasing large quantities.
- Your Birth Announcement!
If you intend to announce your birth immediately through your social media, consider using this adorable birth announcement sign. It’s an easy and cute way to announce your baby to the world!
Items for your partner to pack in their hospital bag:
-Snack for themselves (so they don’t dip into yours)
-Change of clothes
-Phone, camera, and chargers
-Book or something for the downtime
-Thank you cards and pen (if you choose to provide them to nurses, midwives, support staff etc.)
-Washbag with toiletries
-Glasses, contact lenses, etc.
-Pillow and blanket if you need to stay overnight.
Let us know if we missed any key items, and happy packing! If you’re looking for how to pack for daycare, click here.